×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Streamers Who Got Honest About Their Addictions

Often, life is not easy. Anxiety and depression are at an all-time high (per Mental Health America), and the young aren't immune. To help unwind, many people tune in to streamers. But streamers are also normal people who have to face the same problems as everyone else, including addiction.

When you hear the word "addiction," you might immediately think of drugs. This is a natural assumption, since many drugs alter brain chemistry to the point where a body can't function properly without them. And it's true that several streamers have dabbled in drugs in the past. Some took drugs before turning their lives around with a self-made career, while others used to cope with the stresses of streaming — contrary to what you might think, a career playing video games for millions of viewers isn't easy. But those aren't the only addictions streamers have dealt with. Some have been addicted to alcohol, while others have become addicted to gambling. A few streamers have even dealt with video game addiction (which is a real, if misunderstood, disorder).

Here are a few notable streamers who have opened up about their past addictions.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

PewDiePie

PewDiePie is no stranger to controversy or shady moments. He has gotten into feuds with other streamers and YouTube personalities, and his sense of humor has led to plenty of backlash. While many might consider PewDiePie the king of YouTube, he also might as well be the king of controversies, which raises the question of how he deals with the stress. Sadly, he once dealt with it by falling into addiction.

In October 2021, PewDiePie revealed that he loves whiskey and would gladly have a glass if someone offered it to him. However, he has sworn off drinking whiskey alone, and possibly all other alcoholic beverages, due to a past addiction.

PewDiePie admitted he used to drink whiskey "every single day," and when he tried to cut down on his intake, he realized he was essentially addicted. He thinks this happened around 2017 or 2018, when he was dealing with numerous controversies. PewDiePie was, as he put it, "drinking to sort of escape emotions." Moreover, PewDiePie was under a lot of stress, more than most fans realize, because he was also in the middle of a YouTube addiction. He was afraid he would lose his livelihood if he slowed down his content creation, and that fear fueled his whiskey usage. These anxieties built on each other.

Eventually, PewDiePie realized what was happening and wanted to put an end to the anxiety, so he kicked his whiskey addiction. It wasn't easy, and he had to suffer through many sleepless nights, but he eventually came out the other end. PewDiePie briefly replaced his whiskey addiction with nicotine patches, he eventually quit that as well.

FaZe Rain

One way to keep people away from drugs is to scare them straight by telling them about how drugs ravage the body and mind. One example of this is the story of Nordan "FaZe Rain" Shat, who has since tried to warn people away from his mistakes.

In 2020, FaZe Rain posted a sad reveal on Twitter, pleading with readers to "please quit the benzos and opioids." He claimed this message was inspired by his own nasty experience with drugs. While he didn't elaborate on which specific drugs he'd used, FaZe Rain eventually revealed his drug use had convinced the rest of the FaZe clan to kick him out of the house. More importantly, these drugs damaged his nerves, leaving him a constant state of pain and regular seizures.

According to a 2021 follow-up video, FaZe Rain's drugs gave him "chemical neuropathy" and left his legs emaciated and barely able to support his own weight, requiring him to use a wheelchair. Despite his inordinate amount of suffering, though, FaZe Rain pointed to his streaming career as the saving grace that kept him sane through the pain. Even though FaZe Rain could still somewhat move his legs, he said he wished he was paralyzed like many other wheelchair users, just so he couldn't feel the constant pain. It was that bad.

After a tortuous year, FaZe Rain was up and walking again — and posing in front of sports cars. While FaZe Rain doesn't have to use a wheelchair anymore, it seems his experience will be enough to keep him off drugs for good.

Mizkif

Many people think "drug addiction" only applies to illegal drugs, but legal medication can be just as addictive, even when it isn't misused.

Many people with ADHD use medications such as Adderall to help concentrate, and for the most part, it helps them (per Insider). Matthew "Mizkif" Renaudo is one of the rare exceptions. Mizkif detailed his struggles growing up with ADHD in a 2021 video, focusing heavily on the side effects he experienced that convinced him to stop using the drug.

According to Mizkif, ADHD made him fairly scatterbrained. He couldn't concentrate on school or while doing homework, so a therapist prescribed him Adderall. The first day Mizkif took the drug, he felt a sense of euphoric lucidity he didn't want to end. More importantly, he felt like he could actually concentrate, hold an intelligible conversation, and wasn't embarrassing his parents anymore. But then came the side effects.

While on Adderall, Mizkif also felt drained of his creativity and emotions. Every day he took Adderall, he felt the side effects getting worse, yet they didn't scare him off the medication. Instead, Mizkif had an epiphany when he found himself unable to empathize with a friend who just lost his father. After that event, Mizkif decided to kick Adderall (and replace it with coffee), and he eventually became the streamer audiences love. It's a good thing, too, since MizKif was Mizkif was tragically diagnosed with viral myocarditis after he began streaming, and his doctor subsequently warned him about the dangers of mixing Adderall with myocarditis.

MANvsGAME

Since Adderall is used to treat ADHD, you probably don't need to delve into the drug's various active ingredients to realize it helps many people focus. Adderall sounds like the kind of substance some streamers without ADHD might try to use to stay energized during long streaming sessions, but that's not advisable; just ask Jayson "MANvsGAME" Love.

In 2015, MANvsGAME started a 5-hour "Trials Fusion" stream talking about banned viewers. Then, quite suddenly, he decided to "come clean." He had been dealing with depression and used streaming to escape from his troubles. While MANvsGAME was afraid he would slip even deeper into an inescapable depression if he missed just one scheduled stream, he paradoxically felt that streaming was also a struggle and a slog. He needed an extra bit of help, and so he turned to Adderall and other amphetamines.

However, MANvsGAME didn't think his drug use was much of a secret. He had been known to stream for over 24 hours straight, and since most people can only do that very rarely, MANvsGAME believed his frequent day-long sessions were a red flag. If that wasn't obvious enough, then maybe his 82-hour "Batman: Arkham Knight" stream should have tipped everyone off.

MANvsGAME was just as addicted to games as he was to amphetamines, at one point. He pushed himself way further than he should have to satiate both addictions, and it spiraled out of control. Luckily, he got past it.

Ac7ionman

When someone becomes addicted to drugs, they tend to lose control of their lives and feel like they need to spend every waking hour figuring out where their next fix will come from. Kicking an addiction is far from easy, and it can help to replace the addiction with something constructive.

Before Aaron "Ac7ionman" Travis found success as a Twitch streamer, he was struggling with life. According to a Chicago Tribune exposé (back when Aaron Travis styled his screen name as "Ac7ionmann"), Travis suffered through an almost decade-long addiction to heroin that could be traced way back to, surprisingly, a "World of Warcraft" obsession. After spending up to 20 hours a day on the game, Ac7ionman eventually lost interest and moved on to smoking marijuana with friends. He eventually moved from that to ecstasy and cocaine, and then eventually to heroin.

All of Ac7ionman's aspirations were replaced with the need for more heroin. Shortly before his first dose, he wanted to become a "Halo" pro, but that goal quickly evaporated. Ac7ionman resorted to crime and pawning his family's possessions to afford one more fix. During this period of his life, Ac7ionman spent time homeless and in jail, and he even witnessed some of his friends overdosing. But eventually, with the help of family and rehab, Ac7ionman got better and found a new passion: streaming.

When the Chicago Tribune published its article, Ac7ionman was streaming 10 hours a day and living off a steady diet of Uber Eats without any time to exercise, which still isn't a healthy lifestyle. Even so, it's clear that Ac7ionman prefers a streaming addiction to his previous one.

MontanaBlack88

To call Twitch popular would be an understatement. Over 30 million viewers tuned in each day in 2020, and as of 2021, 22.8% of all members hail from the US (per Statista). No other country comes close to that kind of Twitch viewership, with Germany in second place way back at 6.73%. So it's pretty impressive that back in 2019, one of the most popular streamers was a German gamer? Not only that, but he got his start telling audiences about his past drug addictions.

As noted by Dexerto, Marcel "MontanaBlack88" Eris started streaming on Twitch in 2013, but his content creator career began much earlier. In 2009, MontanaBlack88 created his first YouTube account, which was a mix of random game clips and recountings of his life story. According to his videos, he had quite the rough life: He committed countless petty crimes when he was younger, from vandalism to breaking and entering, and he'd used drugs. All these stories and how he overcame his struggles with addiction eventually attracted a sizable audience, which helped him grow his second gaming-centric YouTube channel, as well as his Twitch account.

Of course, MontanaBlack88 is a native German gamer and speaker, so the average English viewer probably wouldn't understand him. That didn't stop him from amassing over 2 million YouTube followers, or from becoming the most-subscribed Twitch streamer in September 2019. But even more impressive, MontanaBlack88 published a bestselling biography, "Vom Junkie zum YouTuber" ("From Junkie to YouTuber") that compiled all his stories, struggles, and successes into one inspirational tome.

MontanaBlack88 demonstrates that no matter what your history, it's never too late to turn your life around and find success.

Pegz

Sometimes, when users take a moment to reflect on reality, they might discover an uncomfortable truth that convinces them to kick their bad habits.

According to a Kotaku report, Twitch streamer Pegz drank from an early age, and started drinking heavily at 20. His rationale was that alcohol made him "feel like a better person," so the more he drank, the better he thought he became. Pegz believed in this assumption so much that he drank himself into unconsciousness on multiple occasions, panicked if booze wasn't within arm's reach, and eventually became angry when drinking excessively. He often yelled at his wife and once punched a hole in his ceiling. This behavior eventually followed him to the streaming world.

Pegz constantly embarrassed himself live on stream to get a laugh out of his viewers, and at one point, he blacked out midstream for 13 hours, only to find viewers having a blast in the chat. This was the wakeup call for Pegz. The streamer explained that he took a long look at himself, his actions, and his health, and decided to change his life.

When Pegz took up streaming again, not only was he sober, but he used the channel to keep him that way. He changed his video descriptions to reflect how long he's been sober, relying on his audience to keep him accountable and his blood alcohol content at 0%.

Dr. K

When dealing with addictions, many people only strive to overcome them. After all, kicking an addiction is a tough enough task. However, one streamer uses what he learned dealing with his own problems to help others.

Dr. Alok Kanojia, a.k.a. Dr. K, is not your average streamer. Instead of posting clips of video games and his reactions, he tends to sit down with viewers and fellow streamer on his channel, HealthyGamerGG, and chat about issues in today's world, usually focusing on physical and mental wellbeing. That isn't to say Dr. Kanojia's channel is devoid of gameplay, just that you're more likely to see him talking to gamers than being one. Why such an unusual focus? His past experience with addiction.

During an interview with NPR, Dr. Kanojia revealed that he spent most of his undergraduate years playing games like "StarCraft" and "Diablo 2" to cope with his feelings. The more overwhelmed he felt, the more games he played, and the more games he played, the more overwhelmed he felt. This "vicious cycle" produced an unhealthy video game addiction that he wasn't able to overcome until he studied meditation and yoga.

While Dr. Kanojia solved his own addiction problems, he learned that his teachers were ill-prepared to answer his own video game addiction-related questions. So, he did some digging and learned the root causes of many gaming addictions from his gamer friends. He now uses what he found to help people through his private practice, website, and streaming channels.

Trainwreckstv

Tyler "Trainwreckstv" Niknam has dealt with a number of addictions over the years. He once told Dr. Alok Kanojia that during college, he used drugs such as Percocet, OxyContin, and heroin. He even lost track of a week while on meth and saw people overdose in front of him. Although Trainwreckstv eventually stopped using drugs, he's become known for another vice among the streaming community.

Trainwrecks has had a confusing stance on gambling streams from the word go. As noted by Dexerto, he's told people not to gamble on Twitch while streaming his own gambling live on the platform. And he's apparently had a rough go of things in this arena. Despite winning a $400,000 jackpot during a lucky stream, he claimed he was still in the red by a significant amount. In a deleted tweet from July (via Dexerto), Trainwreckstv revealed he had lost $2 million off-stream and had been "chasing losses" ever since (a term for losing money while gambling and trying to win it back with even more gambling, often unsuccessfully).

Streamers have called Trainwreckstv out on this behavior and urged him to stop, with Hasan Piker outright accusing him of being "addicted to gambling." However, Trainwreckstv has maintained that it's okay for him to continue gambling since he claims he is "authentic and transparent" and has money in the bank.